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We are the 99 percent

Occupy Piccolo! Chicago Communities Occupy School In Protest of Privatization

Posted 12 years ago on Feb. 18, 2012, 5:39 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

The Brian Piccolo Specialty School in Humboldt Park, Chicago is currently Occupied by parents, teachers, and students. Occupy Chicago and other allies are outside the building in solidarity and have set up an encampment. Around one hundred people are present and are taking shifts to ensure the safety of the occupation. The Chicago Teachers Union has expressed support for the action. Piccolo, an elementary school with a student body that is almost entirely from low income communities of color, is one of 16 Chicago public schools slated to be closed by Mayor Rahm's service cuts to the poor.

Updates, 2/18

  • 3:30AM Central Time: It is believed that Chicago Police have decided to leave and protesters have declared victory for Day 1 of Occupied Piccolo! If you are in Chicago, please come to 1040 North Keeler Avenue to show your support, and bring a tent! Follow #takebackourschools, #piccolo, @OccupyChicago and @TBOurSchoolsChi on Twitter.
  • 10:30AM: The police are still not attempting to remove protesters inside. However, they will not allow anyone else inside, and will not allow occupiers to leave and return. Parents and occupiers inside are being denied food and medicine.
  • 1:45PM: Chicago police have arrived on the scene. Around a dozen people remain inside the school, with a large crowd rallying outside. The occupiers have been holding the school since 5PM yesterday and are still being denied food and medicine by the police. Interviews to press are being given through windows. A busload of teachers have shown up to show solidarity.
  • 4:00PM: Occupiers have emerged from the school to thunderous applause and declared victory! The demands have been met, proving that direct action and community power can be leveraged for real change! Parents will be given the opportunity to meet with the Board of Directors to submit a counter-proposal for local education. This is what real community control looks like.


Via Occupy Chicago Press:

Declaration #1 from Piccolo Occupation
11:49pm - February 17th, 2012

We, the Piccolo Occupation, are putting our childrens' education first. Piccolo has failed because CPS has refused to invest in public education. The school has struggled for years but you have taken out all the programs, classes and opportunities to learn. We have had 3 principals in the last five years.We have not been able to work with anyone on a long-term basis to address the chronic disinvestment in our school. CPS and City Hall have failed us and our children. Your goal is to privatize the education system by giving it to corporations that support the mayor. We have been ignored, you have ignored our children and now you are trying to make money off of them.

The Chicago Public Schools is in violation of its own remediation and probation policy. CPS is in violation of the Illinois School Code and the Illinois Civil Rights Act. CPS is in violation of Illinois Senate Bill 630. Because of this, a moratorium has been introduced in the Illinois Legislative Assembly by the School Facilities Taskforce. We are enacting our moratorium for ourselves with this sit-in due to the fact that CPS not once has laid out the necessary corrective action for Brian Piccolo or Paolo Cassals along with the Local School Councils for getting them off of probation during the last five years. The School Improvement Plans for Academic Achievement (SIPAA) at these two schools have lacked the budgetary resources to bridge the achievement gap of our student populations. Further, the SIPAAs along with the budgets at the time of their signings have not had real community input. Therefor, these actions could very well be civil rights violations. At the recent CPS hearings, the former principle of Cassals testified that not once in the last five years had CPS met with her nor with the LSC about any of the necessary corrective action for Paola Cassals to be removed off of probation.

Because CPS has been not willing to meet with or listen to us, this is what we want:

1) A meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel

2) A meeting with at least five of the Chicago School Board members present

3) The removal of Piccolo and Cassals from the turnaround list



Read the Rules
[-] 5 points by BarneyRebel (8) 12 years ago

Don't blame teacher's and unions for the failure of the city properly fund and staff a school. If Piccolo were in Lincoln Park, it would have been turned around post haste.

There is a reason the schools that fail the most are in primarily black communities, and it is the uneven distribution of resources by the city and CPS to make sure that children from low income families receive a fair shot at an education.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

That is simply not true when you look at the numbers. Spending in the district is $13,500 per pupil which is significantly higher than the state average of $8,769.


After that extra spending and 5 years of probation this school still did not meet federal education standards!

[-] 1 points by proudofOKC (361) 12 years ago

Further down on that page is a chart that says the school's average class size for 6th grade is 37.5 students. That's just ridiculous. Thirty-seven sixth graders in one class? Hire more teachers and get the class size down so they have a chance at addressing the individual needs of the student. I went through an under-funded public school system and my average class size was usually 30-35. It didn't matter if the teachers were good or bad- they didn't get a chance to teach for all the babysitting.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Esactly! That is the root of the problem.

They waste money. They do not spend it on teachers, books and desks. They get more money per pupil than meny other schools in the state. That is why they are turning it over to a comapny that runs things efficiently.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

Are you kidding? Schools in impoverished ares need to provide school lunches, sometimes school breakfasts, deal with social service issues, costly special education, bilingual education, have psychologists on hand, and more. That all has to be paid for, it is not a waste of money, and it is all mandated by law.

Many charter schools, run by "efficient" companies, get a pass on those legal requirements. They can cherry pick their students. They can eliminate support services. And they turn out, according to the data, to have worse test scores on average despite that, while sucking money out of the public system.. The only thing they accomplish is to concentrate the most needy children in even more underfunded schools.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

No I am not kidding.

First of all the school meal programs are Federally funded (US department of Health and Human Services) and are outside of the school budget.

Our school system spends $8,740 per student and has one of the largest special needs populations in the state of NJ. We have a great bilingual (ESL) education program. It is a public schools sytem that has a great administration. I have no problem with public schools, just the ones that have been failing for 20 years. In NJ they created "Abbot" districts where they dumped as much as $24,000 per pupil into the system and things did not cahnge.

No school gets a pass on those issues. The schools run by ASUL did so far not get to cherry pick anything. The come into a district, focus on the students, and turn things around.

I don't think we can afford a wait and see approach after 20 years of failing and 5 years of probation. I do not understand the concept of not wanting to try something different. Every year that goes by more lives are harmed.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

What district are you referring to? I live in New Jersey and know some of the districts. I also know that it has among the most unequal distribution of education funds in the country other than the Deep South, and it has been a wedge issue in many gubernatorial campaigns. AUSL has, specifically, been accused of pushing out poor-performing kids in many of its Chicago schools to boost test scores. (The same thing happened in the Harlem Success Academies.) The system is rife with problems.

If successful, your school district is the exception, not the rule. Charter schools have been nationwide, on the whole, an abysmal failure. Some do better, but most do worse than public schools.

This issue is not to privatize. Education is in the national interest, it is a public good, and must remain in the public sphere. The issue is to have the political will to turn failing schools in distressed communities into successes. (This school had 3 principles in 5 years. That by itself helps accomplish the opposite.) And those schools have more to deal with every singe day than schools in areas of even modest wealth, middle class areas.

As I said AUSL might be an exception, especially as it focusses on the challenges of urban education. But in Chidago it has, apparently, turned kids out that were not performing, something public schools don't do. Capital improvements in the tens of millions of dollars for the schools it runs have come from outside each schools budgets, paid for by the district, so the costs per student are distorted, showing up as less compared to the public schools (which, in turn show up higher).

In Chicago, while tests score have improved for math, the methods of achieving that improvement have come under scrutiny, especially in terms of focussing on those students that were barely below state guidelines to begin with. Test scores for reading have not improved at all. And the schools are running a 70% capacity, a luxury no public school can afford.

At best, the jury is out. AUSL has some good approaches. Most charter schools don't. And privatizing schools is not a legitimate public policy for an entire system. Most of Europe has better public education than we do. It's results are consistently better than ours. It's results are consistently even better that our charter schools as well. They have not abandoned public education. They have, instead, committed to it. They have also made more substantial commitments to eliminate income inequity and poverty. Those last two issues have the single greatest impact on the education of our children.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Our school is not a charter school. As I said it is a public and it is very successful. Charter schools have also been very successful overall. There have been a few bad eggs but they went under. You see that is the good thing about competition the bad ones do not survive. In the public sector they keep getting more money and spend it on administration.

Here is a list of administrator salaries in NJ. The worst districts which are getting more money pay their administrators over $300,000/yr when you count bonus and expenses. This would not fly in a private setting. http://tinyurl.com/7az8vtp

To add to that there are over 600 districts in NJ (more than the number of towns) each with their own little kingdom of administrators. We need to go to a system of one district per country (21) and throw the bums out.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

My apologies, I thought you were referring to AUSL expanding to New Jersey. I read your post too quickly. Again, my apologies.

I absolutely agree about the need to consolidate districts. Even Guttenburg, a township of about 8 or 10 square blocks, has its own superintendent of schools. It is an absolutely outrageous legacy of New Jersey politics. Each township acts like a private fiefdom. But that is more a problem with politics in general than it is a problem of education. Keep in mind, too, that "administration" in most school budgets includes people like guidance counselors and school psychologists. Although I agree that many administrators, like district supervisors and Board of Education members are grossly overpaid, many people in the administration category are falsely identified as not being in direct contact with or serving individual students.

I absolutely DON'T agree that the private/charter schools have been furthered by competition. Bad ones have indeed survived. Most current ones don't measure up to the public schools. They are aided in their continued existence by a combination of myths surrounding them with the free market advocates in public office and business that keep them going despite evidence of lack of effectiveness.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

All of this is why choice is important to me. I believe a voucher system is the only way to get where we need to be. Competition forces people to get off their arses and get creative. We need innovation.

[-] 3 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

I can't fathom how you could come to such a conclusion when the evidence is in about the charter school's general failure. Expanded choice to charter schools has already demonstrated that privatizing doesn't work. (And charter schools are indeed private, despite their being largely funded by public dollars.) And the "competition" enabled by these charters has not led to better education or the elimination of bad ideas for education; the underperforming charter schools are mostly still up and running, however badly.

The voucher system would destroy the very idea of guaranteed universal education. Vouchers never covers all the costs, so the poor can't take advantage of them. At best it creates a supplement to middle class, mostly UPPER middle class, families for private schools. It does so out of the general education budget, which empties it of funds for the public schools, where greater concentrations of the poor remain. And they remain there with even fewer resources. Last, and absolutely not least, private schools are not mandated by law to accept every child, so kids with special needs are left out, as are poor performing ones that need more help. Those kids, too, are left behind in the now poorer public schools. The process transforms the public system into a grossly underfunded dumping ground for the rejects of the private, taxpayer subsidized, private system.

Education of the nation's kids is a public responsibility. One of its goals is to create an educated citizenry, especially an educated electorate. That process is subject to distortion and manipulation when relegated to the private sector nationwide.

No major teacher's organization has ever endorsed privatization of the public school system. None of them are in favor of vouchers. The professionals who are actually in the classrooms day in and day out, almost universally reject the idea. It is something non-educators advocate, usually for ideological, not pedagogical reasons, or individual parents who think they can cash in on such a system and don't care about its effects on other kids or families.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

If the charter schools are worse than the public schools parents will chose the public schools. Why would you favor a monopoly over choice?

FACT: Private schools cost less per student than public schools in the inner sities of NJ.

FACT: Private schools in inner cites are doing better than public schools.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

"If the charter schools are worse than the public schools parents will chose the public schools."

Because parents have bought into the mythology and aren't made aware of the facts.

"Why would you favor a monopoly over choice?"

It is only a choice for those who can afford it, since vouchers don't pay for 100% of tuition. It is only a choice for those without kids with special needs, or kids that can't be rejected from the private system. Mostly poor families have these damaged or disabled kids, due to poverty itself. So the monopoly remains with the voucher system, only it remains exclusivley for the poor. That is undemocratic, unfair, and un-American.

"FACT: Private schools cost less per student than public schools in the inner sities of NJ. FACT: Private schools in inner cites are doing better than public schools."

Private schools pre-screen students. They are not required to take on the most problematic ones that public schools are not allowed, BY LAW, to reject. Their costs are therefore less than public schools. They also, on average pay their teachers significantly less than public schools do. Those teachers trade a salary for the ability to be free of problem students, and state curricula mandates, opting for academic freedom over making a living.

But the biggest difference in the cost is because the private schools keep problematic and costly kids out.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

My problem with “the new principal is fixing it” is that it is after the fact. They were on probation for five years and time is up. My son's teachers will not let him hand in his homework a day late. We cannot afford to let this carry on and the lives of more children be irreparably harmed. This is not some factory churning out potato chips. The human formative years are very important.

We need to give parents a choice. Monopolies are not good for anyone except the monopoly. If I had a voucher I certainly would not use it at Piccolo. Would you?

I would chose one of the New Leaders schools http://www.newleaders.org/locations/chicago/fact-sheet/

Or one of these schools http://www.chicagointl.org/

With vouchers you would still have the option to send your child to Piccolo. That is the great thing. It is you choice so you can choose Piccolo and I can choose something else.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

It is clearly not after the fact. The turnaround started 6 months ago. the probation was for 5 years, not 4 1/2 years. They are doing this in SPITE of the improvement in the school, not because it is continuing to fail.

You are still missing the point entirely about vouchers. Since the issues have been spelled out for you several times, I can only assume it is because you are purposefully doing so because you refuse the let the facts intrude on your a existing ideology.

As to Charters:



These are only the latest studies. They support virtually all of the other studies that have been conducted for the last few years. Tell me again after reading them that Charters are still better that public schools, and then come see me a bout a bridge I can sell you.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Vouchers would be bad for children and education = speculation.

Chareter schools are not doing better that public schools = speculation.

Piccolo school has been a failed school for more than 20 years = FACT

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

"Vouchers would be bad for children and education = speculation."

Not speculation. i have told you what the issues are about both funding and screening. You are ignoring those issues. They are not speculative, and in those areas where it has been tried, it has been proven.

"Chareter schools are not doing better that public schools = speculation."

Again, no. The studies done have measured the failure. Test scores have NOT improved (they area matter of record) and have, in fact, failed to keep up with public schools. Far from speculation, I am citing data.

Piccolo school has been a failed school for more than 20 years = FACT"

True, in and of itself. But ASLO facts are that the school had 3 different principles assigned to it in the last 5 years, starting with its being put on probation. That is a recipe for further disaster. Despite that, the newest Principle has made, according to all reports, substantial gains in the last six months, and the school is no longer in the failed category in terms of its test scores. This takeover by a private happens after the turnaround everyone wanted was already beginning, and it is obvious that the decision was made prior to this principle ever having gotten there. this isn't, therefore, about rescuing this failed school, since that has occurred, but only about funneling money to this company.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Lennox Math Science and Technology Academy and Hawthorne Math and Science Academy


[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

For me choice is always a better option than no choice. Competition is always better than a monopoly.

The only person I can imagine being against choice is someone who benefits from parents not having a choice.

Anything is better than what is happening at Piccolo for the past 20 years. So many lives ruined. It is truly sad. They had their chance. It is time to do something different before more lives are ruined at Piccolo.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

"The only person I can imagine being against choice is someone who benefits from parents not having a choice."

The problem is that the voucher system is designed to leave tens upon tens of millions of families without choice. I think of public education as akin to national infrastructure investment, with that infrastructure being far more valuable than any bridge or road.

I know that voucher systems would not work. I know that they would have the effect of further stratifying opportunity between the haves and the have nots. I was a teacher for 15 years and worked in both public and private schools. (In fact I was named one of the Teachers Of The Year for the State of New Jersey during the Whitman years). I have seen first hand what the differences are between private and public schools, what many of the problems and advantages in the systems are. I was, in fact, one of the people in my private school who screened the applicants. There was no comparable screening in the public school i worked in. When a kid proved difficult in the private school, we did not get that kid extra help or extra supervision: we asked him to leave. There was no such choice in the public school (nor should there have been.) The playing field is already too uneven. School vouchers would turn the current slant into an insurmountable mountain.

We need to fix public education for our kids, not destroy it.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

You can call them the exception to the rule but that is not the case. MOST charter schools do better than thier public school peers.

I am not sureprised that many old school educators (pardon the pun) are against vouchers. The truth is that those who do not want vouchers want to protect their empire.

Charter schools are not private schools and they cannot pre-screen students. If there are not enough spots for students they are required to implement a lottery system.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

"MOST charter schools do better than thier public school peers."

In fact, all studies show the opposite is true.

I have no "empire" to protect. I spent most of my time teaching in private school (and no longer teach at all, since I actually want to make a decent living.). And like most teachers I know, in both private AND public schools, the paramount concern is for the kids. As i said (which you seemingly ignored) private schools can unionize and many have. In fact, when private schools unionize, they have the the option of striking, something public school teachers cannot do by law. Empire is not the issue. Kids are the issue. Poverty and fairness is the issue.

Charter schools are indeed private schools. They are chartered by the state, and receive some funding from that state, but they are independently, privately owned and run. Different charter schools have different admissions criteria. And virtually none are bound by the same rules regarding expulsion as public schools are, so they can quickly thin their ranks of problem kids.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

You keep putting up these ridiculous videos. The exception is not the rule. Period. You can't generalize from the particular..

Charter schools underperform public ones ONE THE WHOLE.

Do you get what on the whole means? Do you understand that there are always exceptions? Do you understand that entire systems can't be based on those exceptions?

Public school is a public responsibility. Period. End of story.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

The Cartel - Trailer about the NJ public school system.


You can rent the entire video if you like from their web site.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 12 years ago

titles help

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

And what is really great about underperforming charter schools is that it is much easier to close them down.


[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

The video is not about Harlem Success Acadamies

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

The Harlem Success Academies are a scandal. If you look more closely at their numbers, their REAL numbers, you would know that.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

You can always find one or two exceptions, (and without looking further, I'm not sure this counts as one). Charter schools ON THE WHOLE have performed more poorly that their public school counterparts.

Jonathan Kozol, in his book "Savage Inequalities; Children in America's Schools" thoroughly documented many of the serious problems plaguing public schools across the country. (I strongly suggest you read it.) Despite those problems he is absolutely opposed to the voucher system, for many of the same reason I have already pointed out. Overwhelmingly EDUCATORS hate vouchers. (Yes you can find exceptions among them, just as you can find scientists who still disbelieve in evolution). They don't hate the because they are Union members; private schools can just as easily be unionized as public ones (and THEY would have the right to strike, unlike their public counterparts). They hate them for reasons of equity and fairness and fundamental issues of education.

[-] 0 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

The video is utterly meaningless. I have already addressed the reason for the difference in the numbers between the two systems. Stossel is infamous in his slanted presentations, cherry picking numbers to prove his Libertardian points, but getting nowhere near the truth. He did so as well here.

Unless and until all private schools charge the same tuition, are under the same State and Federal mandates regarding equal access as public ones are now, are subject to all the same laws, and vouchers covered all the costs, it is a basically unfair and undemocratic system designed to further hurt the poor.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Charters Schools are Effectively Educating African American Students


[-] 4 points by JimmyTheCelt (3) 12 years ago

Stand together on this and dont give in - people all over the world offer you solidarity and wish we could come over and join you in your protest - best wishes and warmest regards from the UK

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

It's great to get some support from overseas. This IS one world, one people.

[-] 3 points by Revolutionary (311) 12 years ago

The whole humanity praises your action.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Go Chicago!!!!!

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I agree with some of what OWS stands behind but I believe we need to put student's rights ahead what of the teacher's and unions want.

Brian Piccolo Specialty and Pablo Casals elementary schools each have been on academic probation for five consecutive years, qualifying them for sweeping measures intended to improve school performance — including the removal of all administrators and teachers.

Piccolo was the worst performer of 69 elementary schools in The Northwest Passage’s coverage area, based on 2011 Illinois Standards Achievement Test results. Just 47.3 percent of Piccolo students met or exceeded state learning standards in spring testing. That’s far below the 66 percent average in the district and the 77 percent average in the state.

CPS has praised the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) for gains at other elementary turnaround schools; it says the nonprofit is improving schools faster than the district average.

[-] 2 points by Bighead1883 (285) 12 years ago

Do not despise the unions for without them it will all get worse.One of the main reasons that things have become so bad in America is the corporations and government are vilifying the unions.They are your protection against the excesses of big business and bad government.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I do not despise unions. I do get upset with people that are against fixing a school that has been broken for over 20 years. how many kids went through that system and were denied their right to a proper education?

After being on probation for 5 years the cry is "we fixed it six moths ago". I am sorry but fixing something (suposedly) after the deadline does not count.


[-] 1 points by infonomics (393) 12 years ago

Thank you for providing the information.

[-] 0 points by BrianHolmes (1) 12 years ago

How can you possibly agree with ANYTHING that OWS stands for if you want to pursue the privatization of public services just because the mayor and the media say it will be expedient? The point is that there is a concerted strategy of divestment from public schools in order to create an education market. Chicago, the home of Obama's education czar Arne Duncan, has been the pioneer of this strategy. I suggest you read an article like this one: http://tinyurl.com/charter-schools-strategy. Here is a snip:

"As Pauline [Lipman] documented in her book, High Stakes Education, the mayor and Civic Committee are operating from a larger blueprint to make Chicago a "world-class city" of global finance and business services, real estate development, and tourism, and education is part of this plan. Quality schools (and attractive housing) are essential to draw high-paid, creative workers for business and finance. Schools are also anchors in gentrifying communities and signals to investors of the market potential of new development sites."

AUSL, which you praise, was founded by a venture capitalist. The program it forms part of is sponsored by the Commercial Club of Chicago. OWS as I understand and support it is COMPLETELY against the total makeover of our cities for the needs of the 1 percent. Just because they say it is efficient -- and are able to cook up numbers to "prove" it -- does not mean anything good for the future of our schools or our country. The same people said that global finance was a rising tide that would lift all boats!

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I don't care who founded what. I care about the education of our children and who can do the best job. This is the worst school in the district, city and state. It has had 5 years to clean up it's act.

I have seen time after time that private schools do better because they have to. Public schools get their funding regardless of their performance. If private schools do not perform they lose students and therefore will go under. Competition is the key to success. If all schools are public there is no competition.

[-] 2 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

Schools should stay Public... Private schools are okay,, but they should be private. 100% no money from the state and not at the expense of public schools. To turn education in to a for profit industry will destroy the education system. If the staff was doing their job, cut them. But i don't see how turning it over to the private market will not cause more problem then solve.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I do not care if they are run by public or private.

I do care if they are doing the job of educating our children to the highest standars in the world. This school was rated 1 on a scale from 1 to 10. It is time to give the private sector a chance.

Let's not let any more childrens lives be damaged beyond repair by this school. You cannot get these formative years back. Youare only a child once.

[-] 3 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

Sounds like you might own stock in that private company,,,,

You would sell us lies,, only to end your thirst for greed.

Private schools are fine as long as they don't take Public Money!!! When they take public money they become Privatized Profits and socialized Losses,,

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I do not own stock in that company. What a rediculous argument. Please be specific when you say "sell us lies"

What is public money? There is no such thing. Money is taken from the people in the community and given to the public schools for education regardless of teh schools performance.

The government gives the schools in this district $10,740 per pupil. I would prefer a system where the government gives the PARENT a voucher for $10,740 to use for their child's education. They could use it at any school public or private. I certanly would not chose Piccolo!

[-] 2 points by JDub (218) 12 years ago

TBH it is a dangerous slope to begin cherrypicking where your child gets an education. Already it is a problem that from district to district, state to state, you get drastically different educations. And that rich areas have consistently more money for spending due to home values and taxes made in those areas. If you count all the money spent in a well to do area, they spend well over the amounts that have been listed here. What you are all failing to take into account is that these low income areas have families that are struggling to put food on the table, so extra curricular activities are non existent, and the social culture is not as encouraging to school, so the pressure to do well is not there.

Over all, its a very bad idea to remove money and let parents start to decide were to send their kids, based of marketing strategies that public schools do not have the money or time for.

[-] 3 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

It is certainly not a bad idea to let parents have a choice in the most important investment in their lives, thier child's eduction.

Why would you want to take that choice away from us? We can chose the type of car we drive, the hospital we go to, the house we buy, but you want us to have NO choice in our children's education.

[-] 1 points by WHP (1) 12 years ago

Its interesting that you are making a case for parent choice. The parents voted on if their school should get the Turnaround and in both schools parents overwhelmingly voted against the Turnaround. School choice should mean that parents get a voice in how their school is managed not just jump from one school to another looking for quality. There are some really invested parents in Piccolo and Casals that have been working for a year with CPS on a real school improvement plan. Both schools have new leadership that needs to be given a chance. The new principal at Piccolo is bringing up scores and got more than 80% of the parents to come to reportcard pickup. These are good signs. Cassals is scoring better than lots of comparable schools including AUSL schools. But this appointed Board of Ed voted to bring in AUSL anyway even as reports came out with mounting evidence of AUSL failure to live up to its promises and despite strong opposition from the people directly affected by their decisions.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

"parents overwhelmingly "

228 out of 1,100 parents voted against turnaround.

Only 12 parents showed up at the board meeting to discuss turnaround.

This school need to be truned around. It is one of the lowest ranked schools in the country for the past 20 years.

[-] 1 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

No Voucher system only takes more money away from Public education. Read the facts charter schools, they are not better than public. They want you to think that,, why because someone is making money from it. Not the teachers, the stock market.

FIX the system, don't make it worse by taking more money from the system to fund For-profit greed. Fact is Charter schools are not the answer. More local control from the community, teachers and students is the answer.

Education should not be a for profit industry. Before you believe their crap, Look into "Charter schools."


[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

Vouchers lead to competition. Competition leads to people getting off ther arses and getting creative and innovating. If not they lose students and eventually their jobs.

A voucher system gives parents a choice in the most important investment they will make in their lives. Without a voucher system only rich kids can afford to go to private school. I think it is about time that poor kids are offered the same quality of educatio as rich kids.

[-] 1 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

That is simply not true,,,, None of it...

maybe you should take you time and energy and protest public monies being used for private schools..

Lets be creative,,, Lets tax the private schools that the So called rich kids go to. Use the money to better fund public education.

Your reply is laughable, I can tell you are spewing a line of garbage told to you. Be a real parent and learn about what you are talking about..

Really who's 2 paragraph article did you read to get your extensive knowledge on this subject? Please post facts to back up your uneducated views. Otherwise i am done learning U.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

There is no such thing as "public monies".

Money is taken from the people that live in a community. Money is given to the public school system that is failing.

I prefer giving a voucher to the parent for the amount spent per pupil. The parent can chose the public school if it is better.

Why are you against parent's having a CHOICE? It is the most important investment they will ever make and you want to take choice away from them!

It is time to end the tyrany of the public school monopoly! There is no accountability!

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 12 years ago

I think we would be better served by de-electing the (R)epelican'ts that have made every effort to destroy public education.

Take those education coupons and burn them up.

Coupons for education, what a farce.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

So you are against parental choice also shooz.

I prefer giving parents a choice. Call it coupons if you like but CHOICE is what they give you!

Some may even choose Piccolo. I would not but that’s my choice.

Monopolies are never a good thing.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 12 years ago

Considering you completely ignored the FACT that (R)epelican'ts have been out to destroy public education for some time now, I find your use of the word "choice", disingenuous.

What REAL choice would an inner city family have?

A coupon? What a joke.

Fix the schools we have.

Monopoly is a term that applies to for profit organizations, so it really doesn't apply here.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

To address you statements.

I am not a repelican or democrap

A coupon = a choice. Not a joke, a choice.

"What real choice would an inner city family have?"

  1. Chicago Internation Schools - http://www.chicagointl.org/
  2. Perspectives Charter Schools - http://perspectivescs.org/
  3. Providence St. Mel - http://tinyurl.com/yzqx7u6
  4. Chicago Catholic Schools - http://schools.archchicago.org/
  5. St Andrew Lutheran School - http://www.standrewchicago.org/

And here is a list of hundreds more around Chicago: http://www.metroprofiles.com/Chicago_CityPrivateSchools.html

"Fix the schools we have." - They have been on probation for 5 years. We cannot wait and destroy more lives.

Monopoly - Noun : The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.

[-] 1 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

Again more Bull Shit,,,, Stop Trolling with your Bullshit.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

How is that bullshit? Bullshit means something is false.

I say money comes from people in teh community. That is true. I say I prefer choice. That is true. I say parents can still choose Piccolo with their voucher. That is true. I say Piccolo school has been failing for 20 years. That is true. I say some of you are against parents having a choice. That is true.

[-] 1 points by DarthBuddaGreenPassion (15) 12 years ago

I say your a tool,,,,,

Who can't understand facts

Show me one Fact that Vouchers system works.. Just one... Until than keep dreaming.

Your right if you want to chose to ignore facts,, Fine be stupid. If you want American Education ran by corporate Nazis,, Join Rick Sanatorium and his bunch of Class war fare pigs...

We have a choice, a free America or a Corporate Fascism...

Not all the Nazi killed Jews, but many like you Followed them blindly and allowed them to take power.

What about my right not to Fund Voucher systems? You already have a choice? Send your kids to private school, with your own money. My Tax money is for public schools.

[-] 2 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

I get it.

You are against parents having a choice. I guess we will never agree.

I am for the children and you are for the system.

You prefer to force parents to send their kids to crap schools like Piccolo that are the worst on the planet.

[-] 1 points by JDub (218) 12 years ago

no school in America educates to the highest standard. So tuff luck there.

[-] 1 points by FivePercentForNothing (190) 12 years ago

This school is one of the lowest in the country.

We need a voucher system so whne people like you say tuff luck I can send my child to a different school. Without vouchers only rich kids can go to privates schools. That is not fair. The poor kids need a fair shake.


[-] 1 points by PatriotMissiles (37) 12 years ago

You are correct, corporate schools get better numbers* (test scores, kids going on to college, etc.) because as long as they get great numbers they keep getting the tax money handed to them which they automatically reduce by a certain percentage in the form of pure profit which would not happen in a public school where 100% of the tax money goes toward serving the kids.

*Oh, the beautiful numbers referred to above are the result of simple manipulations such as removing struggling students back to public schools, acquiring exemptions for certain students so they don't qualify for state tests, cheating on tests, and other tactics. Of course, they get the state funding for these kids even if they send them back to a public school. Sound a lot like how the financial industry works? That's because at the end of the day, a corporation is a corporation no matter what it's doing. There are some exceptions, but the hard core profit schools are not the golden eggs they proclaim themselves to be.

I think your intentions are good, but you seem to still be buying into some of the kool-aid that gets sloshed around by big business. To get through it, just study the intentions of many of these private entities and the truth will reveal itself rather quickly.

I'm quite tired of hearing about the invisible benefits of corporate efficiency and competition. If this country needs a new buzz word, focus on QUALITY.


[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 12 years ago

In addition to trying to gain profits at the expense of education Charter Schools appear to be part of the corporate take over of schools that includes increased advertising at schools which is corrupting the education process by enabling the corporations to control what is being taught. The following quote from Susan Linn "Consuming Kids" p.75-6 is just a small indicator of what they're trying to do:

"In-school advertising began escalating in earnest in 1990. It now includes (but isn’t limited to) corporate-sponsored newscasts, field trips, classroom materials, vending machines, gymnasiums, walls, and whole buildings. Have you visited your child’s school lately? Perhaps she’s learning about energy production and consumption through the lens of companies like Exxon Mobil or professional associations like the American Coal Foundation (“Unlocking Coal’s Potential through Education”). Her inspiration for reading may be coming from Pizza Hut-complete with coupons to be redeemed at your local franchise. She may be attending mandatory assemblies where she can learn about job interviewing from McDonalds. If she lives in Washington, D.C., and wants to go into the hotel business, she might be attending the Marriot Hospitality Charter School. If she’s a kid in trouble, she could attend a Burger King Academy."

"If she’s on a school athletic team, her shoes may come from Nike or Adidas. Her school’s scoreboard could owe its presence to the countless bottles of Coke or Pepsi she’s bought from school vending machines and a sport company logo. Access to her opinions and ideas may have been sold to a market research company. Her only exposure to current events might be brought to her courtesy of the aforementioned Ed Winter. He’s the guy who thought of Channel One, the twelve-minute news program that includes two minutes of commercials that her school is obligated to show daily for 90 percent of the school days each year."

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[-] 1 points by marga (82) 12 years ago

When people fail to live up to their responsibility and do the job they were assigned to do, get rid of them even if its a good friend, but don't put them out in the cold. Give them fair warning and tell them perhaps they would be happier somewhere else. When I lived in Dallas I worked for a company that made big army tents during the Vietnam war. When the war was over he shut down and find everybody a place to go to and get a job. Those people don't hardly exist any more. What some of our people have to go through because of greed is disgusting. I'm 69 y/o. and I never seen so much hate and racism in our country since people started to lose everything they had. You would think the world is running out of money. Now we try to gain some funding just to protect gay rights and a woamn's vagina from becoming comunity property. Damn those Christians are good in laying claim to something that doesn't belong to them and then try to sell it to you. What can I say, only in America. Have fun OWS you got the bull by the horn. People will follow suit eventually when they get done fighting their own shadow.

[-] 1 points by DonHawkins (37) 12 years ago

http://knowledge321.wordpress.com/ "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

[-] 1 points by freakyfriday (179) 12 years ago

According to Chicago Tribune, this school is NOT being closed, contrary to news story above. They want to shake up the personel,

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to designate Piccolo a “turnaround” school, which would allow the nonprofit Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) broad leeway to fire teachers and the principal while reshaping the curriculum.

Full story here. It would be nice if OWS NEWS would get their facts straight. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-activists-end-sitin-at-piccolo-school-20120218,0,4099740.story

[-] 1 points by JDub (218) 12 years ago

dude, that means privatization. That is what the discussion is about. AUSL is a private corporation that would be PAID by tax money to do what they are already paying people to do, but while taking some of the money off the top for themselves, which would not happen normally. The real problem in this school is that those in charge DO NOT want it to succeed, because there is money to be made by privatizing it. The real failure is the way we treat education, as a preparation for a factory/office environment, instead of fostering a learning environment. To truly turn this school around, is quality of life improvment for those children, something no one is really ready to accept.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Although so many of us across the nation cannot be with you, we are with you. We WILL win this fight!

[-] 1 points by airplaneradio (50) 12 years ago

To all the haters, you have to remember that unions do no wrong, they are far from evil and far from ever making mistakes. Have you ever met a greedy union worker or better yet a greedy union boss? Well I haven't. Their hearts are pure and full of nothing but valiant intentions for all. They just want their fair share. So this means whenever a union cries wolf you better jet your ass down to the source of intolerance and picket until your arms fall off. We need to give the unions everything they want. 80,000 a year. 4 months vacation. All medical expenses paid. Paid housing. Food vouchers. Oh, you guys want more?! I mean sure, TAKE IT ALL!

[-] 0 points by airplaneradio (50) 12 years ago

By the way, this isn't hate on unions because I DO believe people should have say to protect themselves, but it people's idea that union groups can do no wrong as if they don't have greedy people like the 1%ers and we should always support them no matter what they ask for is what bothers me greatly.

[-] 1 points by Toynbee (656) from Savannah, GA 12 years ago

Bravo. Thank you for your courage. This is important.

[-] 1 points by urbaned (1) 12 years ago

Here is a way that teachers can really have some power and fight back: refuse to administer standardized tests! These cookie-cutter tests make money for the 1% and do not help students!

[-] 1 points by chgoresident (2) 12 years ago

All AUSL schools are on probation according to an AUSL spokesperson. Brian Piccolo has been on probation for some years, but it's now in the process of being turned around by the new principal of less than 6 months. Parents, Teachers and Students are happy with the Principal. Parents are saying that the school is already in the process of its own turn around and have conveyed to CPS by way of petition and voting against the CPS turnaround, but CPS is not listening. Occupying Piccolo is the parents way of getting their point across. CPS officials are refusing to let parents bring in additional food and water to the parents occupying the school. One participant needs medical attention. CPS says they want parent participation so why are they not listening to the parents and the community? Lets support the parents and communities around local schools!

[-] -2 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 12 years ago

They have been a failed school for 20 years and on probation for 5 years! So now you tell me they turned around in six months. Conveniently there is no test data for this year yet to prove you are right or wrong.

[-] 4 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 12 years ago

They have a new principal. It looks like the parents are behind the new principal and it looks like they don't want their school closed. Congrats to the people who are standing up for public education. Oh, and yes- teachers deserve decent pay, decent working conditions and the support of their management in their efforts to help the kids. This doesn't contradict the needs of the children. On the contrary, children need teachers who are not preoccupied with matters such as "how will I pay my rent this month?"

[-] 0 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

Chicago, IL – $53,713

That is the average salary of a Chicago area public school teacher.

The median income for a family of four in that city was $45,734 as of 2009 (the last year for which I could find information).

That means that teachers on average earn more than most households.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 12 years ago

What's your point? Than teachers, who are professionals, who are required to have Masters Degrees, who take work home, who pay out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms make too much?

[-] 1 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

[-] 0 points by Concerned (353) 5 days ago

My point?

If you followed the thread you'd see that I had replied to the following:

"On the contrary, children need teachers who are not preoccupied with matters such as "how will I pay my rent this month?".." posted by ShubeLMorgan2.

He/she implied that Chicago teachers were not paid well. My point is that they are on average earning $7,979 more than the average four member household in Chicago.

Got it?

How did "Master Degrees" get into this debate. The post I replied to had nothing in it about required "Masters Degrees" and last time I checked most teachers need a BA to become certified.


[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 12 years ago

and what is your point? you would rather the fast food workers were teaching your kids?

[-] 0 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

My point?

If you followed the thread you'd see that I had replied to the following:

"On the contrary, children need teachers who are not preoccupied with matters such as "how will I pay my rent this month?".." posted by ShubeLMorgan2.

He/she implied that Chicago teachers were not paid well. My point is that they are on average earning $7,979 more than the average four member household in Chicago.

Got it?

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 12 years ago

They don't make much for the work they do. They also shell out thousands from their own pockets. Without unions they'd be even worse off.

[-] 1 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

It seems like some on this forum find it impossible to stick to one topic and must always try to broaden it out beyond the original one.

I am not arguing how much any teacher should be paid.

I responded to ONE specific broad statement that has no basis in reality. A Chicago teacher makes nearly $8,000 more per year than the median income of a family of four. With an income of more than $50,000 per year, it is not a "fact" that they are worrying about paying their rent each month.

Are they paid enough? That really depends on how you look at it. Do teachers work the same number of days per year as other college educated and employed people making the same income or do they get a substantially higher number of days off per year?

Do they get a larger number of "perks" than do others with the same level of education who work a greater number of days per year and hours per day than teachers? Again, that depends on which county they work in. Several counties in my state gives teachers a $5,000 pre-paid VISA card to use for over the counter medicines and for their pharmaceutical co-pays.

But, I digress....whether teachers are paid enough is another topic and not one that can be discussed easily because you have to take it county by county and state by state and look at issues like regional cost of living.

[-] 1 points by JDub (218) 12 years ago

IMO no teacher makes enough, and the teachers at these low income schools get far less then they should, due to the hours they spend of their own time to make up for the lack of proper funding, due to political stunts and pandering to the 1%.

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 12 years ago

but what is the point of that? you think its too much? not enough? they dont need to make that much? what?

[-] 1 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

Okay, let's try this again.

Someone posted that teachers couldn't teach well because they were worried about their next rent payment.

I posted that teachers in that area (Chicago) make almost $8,000 more per year (as a single income) than most households in Chicago make (including dual income households). The group that gives out these media income numbers doesn't differentiate between a single income household or a double income household.

A single teacher making $53,713 is making above the median income level of that area - if that teacher is part of a two income household then unless they are living above their means, that household is better off than most others in that area.

What does it matter if I think it is "too much" or "not enough"? That was not the point - the point was that to state that teachers in Chicago are unable to teach well because they earn too little to pay their rent is not based in actual reality.

If you want to discuss how I think that the money is our school system is mishandled with far too little of it actually making it into the classroom, then that is a valid area of discussion.

Reality is that each teachers union in each state and/or county negotiates teacher salaries and benefits and that more and more of the public money goes into management each year and pension funds each year than into the classroom.

Blanket statements that teachers don't make enough money to "pay their rent" is nothing more than rhetoric while not enough money making it into the classroom is a fact that is provable.

[-] -3 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 12 years ago

It is my undestanding that the school is not to be closed. The school is to go under new management by a company that has a track record for turning schools around. Why would the parents not want that for their kids. I think 5 years probation is long enough.

We cannot wait any longer. Enough children have been harmed, There is no getting that time back formative years they will never get back. It is just not something you can wait 5 more years for. There are kids in that system today that would be hamed by inaction.

[-] 1 points by chgoresident (2) 12 years ago

All AUSL schools are on probation according to an AUSL spokesperson. Brian Piccolo has been on probation for some years, but it's now in the process of being turned around by the new principal of less than 6 months. Parents, Teachers and Students are happy with the Principal. Parents are saying that the school is already in the process of its own turn around and have conveyed to CPS by way of petition and voting against the CPS turnaround, but CPS is not listening. Occupying Piccolo is the parents way of getting their point across. CPS officials are refusing to let parents bring in additional food and water to the parents occupying the school. One participant needs medical attention. CPS says they want parent participation so why are they not listening to the parents and the community? Lets support the parents and communities around local schools!

[-] 0 points by marga (82) 12 years ago

Gee how much longer is it gonna take for the rest of the American people to catch on? Technology has taken over the world and its not gonna take the place of humanity but simply providing people with a new way of life because we cannot continue to keep robbing our planet, killing each other off and multiply like rabbits without the means to take care of a new life when we haven't even mastered to take care of our own fellow human beings. We got dumped by the world just like I knew we would. Who on earth gave us the right to play world police, force our dollar's on the rest of the world and try to tell other countries how to run their country? We are truly one of a kind and deserve the laughter of the God's. Between Obama treatening us with thought control and some old geesers being obsessed with gays and a woman's vagina I'm cracking up laughing.

[-] 0 points by marga (82) 12 years ago

America is shipwrecked without a sail drifting away into the unknown. We got used, abused and dumped like a hot potato for some one else agenda. may we all have learned a lesson for chasing wild goose. Move away from Jesusland it no

[-] 0 points by BlackSun (275) from Agua León, BC 12 years ago

Leave them be. If they want to be sub-standard ghetto schools them who are we to tell them they can't?

[-] 0 points by hedleymnn (14) 12 years ago

What is wrong with privatization?? Is OWS afraid the schools might get some good teachers, instead of the crony union ones?? Get the unions out

[-] -1 points by Concerned (455) 12 years ago

Uhm, shouldn't they have thought of food and medicine prior to taking over the school? Wait, I forgot. They have a right to forgo personal responsibility for their own actions.....and then blame the results on the police and the rest of the population.